Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has again urged Al-Qaeda-linked militants in the western province of Anbar to surrender.
In a televised address on January 8, Maliki suggested that militants who quit fighting the government and its allies might be considered for clemency.
Maliki repeated a pledge not to use force if Anbar's Sunni tribes took action on their own to oust the militants.
But he also vowed his government would smash the Iraqi Al-Qaeda branch, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, calling it corrupt and evil.
His comments came amid reports that Iraqi tanks and artillery remained deployed around Fallujah, poised to attack militants who seized parts of the Sunni-majority city last week.
'I call upon the people of Fallujah and the tribal leaders to unite and reject the presence of those evil people, because Fallujah has witnessed fighting and destruction many times before,' Maliki said. 'We do not want this city to suffer at all. We will not use force as long as the tribes are ready to fight Al-Qaeda and expel them.'
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